Today, I’m grateful for the ability to recognize errors, while I still have time to correct them.
InshaAllah, there’s still time to correct them.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and marital relations from first light to sunset. Allah required this of us, and Allah makes it easy: given some planning, patience, willpower, and support, abstaining from food, drink, and sex for 16 or 18 hours is simple. But there is more to it than that, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, warned us:
Whoever does not leave false speech, and acting according to it, then Allah is not in any need of him leaving his food and his drink.
and in Abu Dawud
Fasting is a shield ; when one of you is fasting, he should neither behave in an obscene manner nor foolishly. If a man fights or abuses him, he should say: I am fasting, I am fasting.
And in Ibn Majah (graded Hasan)
“There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.”
We fast because Allah azza wa jall told us to fast:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.
But if I want to gain in Taqwa, just fasting isn’t going to do it. I know this from experience: I fasted Mondays and Thursdays for months after Ramadan ended last year, and after awhile it became habit. I didn’t much think about it any more. If I really want to get something more out of Ramadan, I need to work harder, and I need to start by expanding the fast, not just fasting with my stomach, but also by fasting with my eyes, ears, tongue, and limbs.* If I can do that, InshaAllah, I’ll gain much more from this blessed month, get closer to God, get more aligned with my worship.
The first step? Recognizing my errors, and working to get better. Alhamdulillah.
*I couldn’t find the hadith about this, but scholars have long recommended fasting with the whole of the body. There are articles all over the place, but here are two to get you started, from al-islam.org and the Huffington Post.